Shareholder advocacy group Ethos on Wednesday called for UBS shareholders to reject a new pay system at an AGM on April 15, saying it could still lead to big bonuses that drive risk taking.

Ethos considers that the UBS proposals will not limit potentially excessive remuneration and recommends that shareholders refuse the new system of remuneration, the sustainable investment group said in a statement.

A spokesperson for UBS was not immediately available for comment.

Facing fierce public anger, UBS launched a radical overhaul of its executive pay system last year after massive investments into risky U.S. assets forced it to make more writedowns than any other European bank.

Hefty bonuses for bankers around the world have come under fire in the crisis, because they are said to encourage risk-taking rather than a prudent longer-term strategy.

Ethos said the new UBS pay plan includes a bonus-malus system as well as a share-based incentive plan, adding the former was interesting as the bonus is calculated over several years and can be cut by a malus in the case of underperformance.

It said some bankers receiving variable payments of up to 90 percent of total pay, which it said could create the wrong incentives and lead to excessive risk taking.

Ethos voting guidelines stipulate that the variable part of remuneration should in principle not exceed 50 percent of total remuneration, it said.

Ethos, along with a group of Swiss pension funds, launched a campaign last year demanding a say in the pay policies of the five largest Swiss-listed companies: UBS AG, Credit Suisse , ABB , Nestle and Novartis .

They want shareholders to have a UK-style advisory vote on remuneration reports, which allows investors to voice their view on directors' pay but companies are not obliged to respond to the result.

On Wednesday, it said ABB, Credit Suisse and Nestle had agreed to all give shareholders an advisory vote on remuneration reports, noting it was studying their proposals and would make voting recommendations in due course.

Ethos acts as a consultant on sustainable investment issues and sells funds which are managed through Pictet et Cie.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Andrew Macdonald)